Powering National Competitiveness Through Disruptive Innovation: Patrick Sullivan Delivers Keynote Address to Universities Across the US

In the News, Intellectual Anarchy

Olympic Valley, CA. 28 September 2021 | Oceanit Founder & CEO, Dr. Patrick Sullivan, delivered the keynote address to attendees from 112 land-grant universities around the US — representing an impressive cross section of notable institutions including Cornell, Purdue, University of California (Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD) and The University of Hawai’i.

Participation was broad and included representation from every State and Territory in the US, University Deans from Colleges of Life Sciences, Environmental and Natural Sciences, and Agriculture, plus several University Presidents, including Dr. Michael Drake, who oversees California’s world-renowned university system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three nationally affiliated labs, and over 280,000 students.

The 2021 Experiment Station Section (ESS) annual meeting focused on “Disruptive Innovation,” as these academic, industrial, and workforce-building institutions consider how to compete in the new industrial revolution — the emerging global competition in technology, jobs, food, environment, agriculture, climate, and more. Their collective mission is a fitting evolution to the program originally created in 1862, signed off by President Abraham Lincoln, as the US was in the middle of the Civil War – a war fought during the advent of machines, like the steam engine, that were sweeping across Europe and the US, where machine labor displaced human labor, creating economic winners and losers.

Today, there is a similar global economic competition occurring as artificial intelligence displaces humans and transforms industries, manufacturing, medicine, defense, and the workforce. These land-grant Universities built the industrial might of the US back in the last century and are dedicated to doing the same today and for the future.

Dr. Sullivan’s keynote titled, “No-Boundary Thinking and the use of Transdisciplinary, Diverse Teams,” was moderated by Dr. Susan Duncan of Virginia Tech, VAES Associate Director.  Dr. Sullivan reviewed how to begin thinking of disruptive innovation by asking fundamental questions – discerning what is “interesting and important,” rather than focus on “requirements-based” considerations.

All attendees received a copy of Dr. Sullivan’s recent book, Intellectual Anarchy: The Art of Disruptive Innovation.

“(I) loved Intellectual Anarchy and it’s recipe for creating disruptive innovation.  It addresses a complex strategy in a clear, entertaining style using compelling examples from the author’s first-hand experiences.  In short, Patrick delivers a master class in disruptive innovation and in doing so, creates the opportunity to be amazing. Patrick is at the nexus of all the (Disruptive Innovation) conversations.  He has identified the attributes of innovation (or techno) warriors, he has reflected on the manufacturing nature of higher ed. turning out graduates with advanced degrees, and he employs diverse, transdisciplinary teams to solve problems.”   

Dr. Richard C. Rhodes III, event committee organizer, University of Rhode Island, Executive Director of NERA

“(I was) really inspired by Intellectual Anarchy and how it articulates a refreshing process for disruptive innovation – from basic science to products.   It lays out a practical framework for our university members and researchers to explore and emulate, particularly as they pursue high risk, high impact ideas, as well as the community engagement needed to bring these ideas to everyday life.”

Dr. Bret Hess, University of Nevada, Reno, Event Chair, Executive Director of WAAESD

“Disruption is often viewed as a negative concept and ‘expert’ as the power position for innovation and knowledge, but the book, Intellectual Anarchy – the Art of Disruptive Innovation, changes this paradigm. I’m using this book as my GPS to disrupt our academic mindset and traditions and reimagine the culture of innovation, exploration, and risk-taking in Virginia Tech’s Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture.”

Dr. Susan E. Duncan, Virginia Tech University, Director of CAIA